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Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Q&A

More questions from you and my answers.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Your adventure sounds wonderful! I've read almost every post in your blog in the last two weeks and that has rekindled my desire to either move to the country OR try mobile homesteading in an RV.
Here are my questions:

Since you're on such a glorious hillside, did you consider building an earth-sheltered house overlooking the valley?

What was your reasoning in not building an earth-sheltered house similar to the ones at this Link?


Rick Brentlinger


Thanks for your comment & question! In answer, yes, we have thought about building into the hillside, and it's still an option, the reason we didn't do it right away was time, it was faster to build the cabin like it is, for the future, it is something we would like to do, but it takes equipment, something we don't have readily available to us. It could be done by hand, it would take a lot of time, and we have big (huge) rocks to contend with. We will be digging a root cellar for cold storage, hopefully this winter.

I'm glad you have had fun reading my blog, it's been a joy living it and writing about it.


Blogger seth said...

Hey Wretha, thanks for Q&A session.
I did have a couple of other questions in regards to Texas. Do vehicles need to have a inspection sticker? What is the sales tax(vary from county to county?) State income tax? Am getting really anxious about all that is going on and looking to get out of here asap. I bought another 5 acres not far from my other property, but this one is paid for in full, so if and when i can bug out of here i can. Thanks, Seth

Thanks for your questions. Yes you do need an inspection sticker for your car in Texas, here is the site for the info: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/vi/Misc/faq/insp_faq.htm
If you have an older car (I can't remember if it's 10 years old or 20 years old) you don't have to have the smog test, just the safety inspection, it's cheaper and easier. Sales tax in the DFW area is 8.25%, that is the maximum you will be charged in any city, you might get lucky and find it less. http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/local/index.html
There is no state tax in Texas. You will pay income tax (of course) and if you own property, you will have property and school tax.

Paid in full, that IS nice isn't it! I am soooo glad our property is PID, just have to pay the taxes.

I believe that in the state of Texas, you are required to own a minimum of 5 acres in order to have a well AND septic on your property. Just something to keep in mind.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hi Wretha,

Look into Ferro cement. Basically, dig a hole, put plumbing in place, ferro cement to seal out dirt etc, and it makes an underground water storage system. AKA cistern. Then you can pump it, filter, and do whatever you need to do with it. It can be filled from the rain or whatever you put in it. Pretty easy to make a 2,000 plus gallon underground storage system. It won't freeze if you have it below the freeze line too!

Always love to get the day-to-day info on how you do things specifically. What you eat, how you deal with limited electricity etc.

On the batteries, most off grid batteries die an early death due to chronic undercharging. It is a good idea to have a generator to help with the charging. Check out www.homepower.com for LOTS of wonderful info. There is lots of free info, but you can subscribe for the electronic .pdf version for pretty cheap. Really worth it too!

Good Luck!

Skip in Kansas City Missouri

Cross your fingers, we have a bid in on 3 acres and a manufactured home in the country


Thanks for your comment, we know about ferro cement, it's GREAT! That's one of the ways we will collect water too, again, that is something that takes time... Bob did dig a hole (by hand) that was deeper than 6 feet and about 6 feet across, it took him a while to do that, including the 300 pound boulders that he had to dig out. That hole was to be the beginning of a water catchment system, unfortunately we had to use it for something else, so we will have to dig a new one sometime.

What we eat, a lot of canned goods, my kitchen really isn't up to par yet. I really enjoy cooking, especially from scratch, I can't wait until I am able to really cook again. I don't really have the ability to bake in an oven, so I have gotten pretty good at making biscuits in my cast iron skillet. Let's see, for breakfast we like skillet biscuits and gravy, or scrambled eggs & bacon. Lunch is usually something quick like sandwiches. Dinner may be a canned ham cooked with brown sugar, or canned chicken with noodles and sauce, bean burritos made with homemade tortillas. I sometimes take a can of chicken, a can of soup, and some egg noodles and make a meal out of that. On weekends when our neighbor is home, I cook for all of us and I use my neighbor's kitchen, that's when I can really cook, spaghetti, stews and such.

The limited electricity is always a challenge, we have gotten pretty good at estimating how much power we will have based on how sunny the day is and how much power we use. Since we don't really use that much, a few lights, a radio, the water pump, my laptop computer, it's not too difficult until we get a cloudy day, if it's cloudy for more than a few days, it's very difficult, we just don't use the computer and radio, the lights and pump don't use much power. Once we get the other solar panels up, we will be able to better charge the batteries. We have a couple of generators, but have never used them to charge the batteries. I've been on homepower.com, thanks for the reminder though, it never hurts to brush up on knowledge. :)

Good luck on your bid, hope you get it!

BigBear said...
Your setup is almost identical to mine. I use two 30 gallon tanks in the house one next to sink one in bathroom that can be heated.

It really is easy you only need to watch power consumption. I use 11 watt florescent bulbs. Using the one over the table right now. I do need a couple of outside lights don't have them yet.

Take care

Big Bear

Big Bear

I have a question for you, how do you heat your water? We are looking into getting a propane tankless water heater, of course in the winter, we always keep a big stock pot full of water sitting on the wood stove, as long as I remember to keep enough water in it, we nearly always have hot water.


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